Little announcement: I recently decided to be transparent about what I do for work. I write about sex for magazines. And I’m a sex worker.
We say “hooker,” “companion,” “escort,” and all the other names to dance around what everyone understands to be the “world’s oldest profession” — something that is illegal in this country. I took my first client when I was 18 years old, so I’ve been in this business for a decade. I’ve done it in fits and starts, dispassionately and with commitment, dipping in and out as my finances require. But in recent years, as I’ve grown a bit older and better with money, I’ve done it more regularly and with increased care. I enjoy this work and I’m good at it.
I’m making this announcement because it relates to another update about this blog and my upcoming book. Before I get to that, I want to talk a little bit about what led me to this decision and this post. My escorting has been fairly obvious on Twitter for some time now. I’ve tucked it neatly into certain posts here. I have inched gradually into transparency, always holding back from stating it outright (in author bios and elsewhere) in fear that doing so will kill my writing career.
Sex work might not affect me as a journalist, “lifestyle writer,” or whatever else I am, but I also write copy and content for brands, and I enjoy this work. Going public about my night business will effectively expel me from corporate space. I may never write for global brands outside queer and adult markets.
I think I can live with that. A rage is building up in me and I don’t know what to do with it except to be truthful. Worsening censorship threatens the free internet, where so many queer people find each other. Increasing legislative attacks against sex workers make me feel powerless. The most recent legislation is SISEA, a bipartisan bill that threatens the livelihoods of thousands of sex workers and should alarm everyone who enjoys porn. Internet censorship has trickled down to WordPress demonetizing blogs with “mature content,” cutting off my ability to feature ads, take donations, and generate revenue through WordPress, rendering this blog 100% donation-and-patron-supported.
With all this, the least I can do is be honest. People pay me for my time, my company, my voice, my body, and my instruction. Sometimes people pay me simply to talk on the phone about their desires and struggles — and I love doing this. Most days this work feels closer to that of a therapist than a streetwalker, but the U.S. says I’m a streetwalker, a “loose lady,” a hustler, so that’s what I am.
I am removing the glass wall between my “professional” name and my other one. I will now see clients under my publishing name — Alexander Cheves (don’t click on that link if you’re under 18 years of age). Managing three separate names, three brands (“Alexander Cheves,” my nickname “Beastly,” and my whore name, Connor Bestia) was getting messy and complicated, so we’ve come together under one, my true name: Alexander Cheves. It’s all me, baby.
This action is arbitrary, as my identity as a sex worker is already on the internet — I’ve even written about it in mainstream outlets. But I still feel this announcement matters. My privileges as a white, male, cisgender person will buffer me from major repercussions. I recognize that. I’m not being brave. There are trans folk and people of color who have to be discreet about this work in order to have a second job, and they are the ones you should be paying attention to.
I’m mostly just doing this for my mental health, and because I want to be useful. I’m with the night people — whores, pornstars, artists, DJs, musicians, and so on. We know how to keep people safe and reduce harm and live without police, and nobody is listening to us. Like therapists and health advocates, we’ve been proponents of harm-reduction and public mental-health programs and prison abolition and decriminalizing drugs far longer than these topics have been in vogue. And for what it’s worth, every day we bring intimacy, touch, and connection to people who’ve grown accustomed to living without these things. We may not save the world, but we save the soul of the world.
We have an uphill battle ahead of us. LGBTQ activists, get on board. This is the anti-censorship fight of the next decade. White people are prone to sweeping in and seizing narratives that don’t belong to them and that’s not what I’m doing. I’m simply coming clean. I am listening and learning from those who’ve been in this fight longer, the Black and trans women who’ve been speaking for decades about the dangers of sex policing and who are disproportionately subjected to whore-phobic violence. They’ve seen sex panics and puritanical climates surge and diminish. We’re currently in a surge, and it’s going to get worse.
My upcoming book will feature personal content about my sex work, and on that note, here’s the second update: I’m going into crunch time for finishing my manuscript, which means there will be no posts on this blog during January 2021 and part of February. I apologize to readers, but I have to clear all distractions to get it in. After I submit, posts here will resume.
So hello, world! I’m Alexander Cheves, sex writer, and elite companion. Sex work is work. Cops are trash. Prisons must be destroyed. Pleasure is good. Kink is healthy. Decriminalize HIV. An army of lovers cannot lose.
Sex work seems to only be considered as being done out of necessity or manipulation. That it can be done out of enjoyment seems foreign to most.
I support sex workers rights as well as fighting against sexual exploitation and trafficking. Only those are informed will know the difference.
Dear Alexander – I am pleased to tell you what you’re not. You are not a hooker. You are not a hustler. You are not some kind of monster lurking in the shadows. You are a thoughtful, beautiful person. You are a teacher. You are a counselor.
I’m looking forward to seeing where your transparent live leads you as you define yourself. What’s more, we are all beneficiaries of your courage.
No matter who you are, trying to divide up your life between different personas is always a dicey prospect. Schizophrenic existences are never good for ANYONE’S mental well-being, and keeping the different personalities straight and separated can be exhausting. I applaud you taking the move to dispense with all the smoke-and-mirrors and live your life as you see fit; would that more people had that kind of courage (U.S. politicians: I’m looking at you…) All the best to you on your transparent journey.